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Initial diagnosis of type 1 diabetes

  • Initial diagnosis

    When your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes it affects the whole family as this is a period of adjustment. There is significant grief and loss around the diagnosis and this takes time to process. While your child is an inpatient at the RCH you may feel tired and overwhelmed processing all the information you are given to support your child at home. The Diabetes Allied Health Team are here to support you during this stressful adjustment period.

    A new diagnosis of diabetes may create difficult emotional issues for young people. Children look to their parents for support and cues about how to manage their own reactive emotions. This can be difficult for parents as they are also struggling with their own feelings and it is important that parents get support from family members, friends, support groups and the Diabetes Allied Health Team.

    Each child is individual and may experience different emotional responses at different times: Some examples can be:

    • Difficulty coping with the emotional reaction of family members
    • Anxiety about the condition
    • Fear of needles and multiple injections
    • Frustration over the daily tasks of managing diabetes
    • Embarrassment about their diabetes and their friends' possible negative reactions
    • Difficulty coping with the emotional reaction of family members
    • Worry about school

    It is important that once children and young people go home from hospital they return to school/kinder, sports, afterschool care, having playdates etc. as soon as possible. Returning to familiar activities that were enjoyed before the diagnosis brings a sense of relief to children and young people and highlights that they are ‘well’. It can also distract them from being excessively preoccupied with thoughts and feelings about their condition. It allows them to access informal support through friends and family which will be highly beneficial at this time.

    Tips for helping your child

    • Be honest with the child or young person
    • Be patient
    • Create a space that is calm at home and at school to carry out tasks
    • Be prepared
    • Allow the child or young person time to talk
    • Encourage them to write down any thoughts, questions he/she is having in a note book and these can be discussed with doctor, Diabetes Allied Health or family
    • Use age appropriate distraction eg. Bubbles, TV, IPAD, song, game
    • Try big deep breaths to relax during the injection/finger prick
    • Reward charts can be helpful for younger children